Vaginal Discharge

Vaginal Discharge

Vaginal DischargeMany girls are worried when they reach puberty and begin noticing vaginal discharge. A certain amount and type of discharge is completely normal and simply means that the vagina is functioning properly. However, some features of discharge can provide a warning about an infection or another condition which requires medical attention, so knowing your body’s “normal” and noticing changes will help you take charge of your reproductive health.

Normal discharge ranges in color from clear to white and does not have a noticeable odor. It is produced naturally by your body as a way to keep the vagina clean and maintain a bacterial balance. The amount and type of discharge varies depending on the time in your menstrual cycle and is typically heaviest when during ovulation (around halfway between two periods, when an egg is being released). You may also notice an increase during pregnancy or when you’re under stress.

Not all vaginal discharge is normal. It may signal an infection or other medical concerns if you notice a change in the color, consistency, odor, or amount of discharge, especially if this accompanies other symptoms like pain or itching in the genital area, pain during urination, abnormal bleeding, painful intercourse, or redness and swelling in the area. These symptoms may be signs of a yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis (an infection caused by an imbalance of bacteria in the vagina) or certain sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Vaginal Discharge Treatment

If you notice any of the symptoms above, schedule an appointment at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett. While some of the potential causes of abnormal discharge are minor and easily treated, others can be more serious, so if you aren’t sure whether your symptoms are a cause for concern, it’s best to visit our board-certified gynecologist to find out.

During your appointment, your gynecologist will discuss your medical history and current symptoms, and will also perform a physical exam, including a pelvic exam. We will typically perform additional tests to confirm a diagnosis, such as performing a culture, examining the discharge under a microscope, or completing a pap smear.

While there isn’t a way to prevent abnormal discharge itself, the solution is treating the underlying condition or infection. Fortunately, the most common causes of a change in discharge (yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, and specific STIs) can typically be treated rather easily with antibiotics, creams, antifungal medications or other short-term medications.


Vaginal Discharge FAQs

Can I prevent abnormal vaginal discharge?
While the conditions affecting discharge are not always preventable, you can lower your risk by following these health tips:

  • Use condoms and other safe sex practices to protect yourself from STIs. Remember, birth control pills do not protect against STIs.
  • Avoid using fragrances, powders, and harsh chemicals in the genital area.
  • Avoid overly tight clothing and panty hose.
  • Wear underwear with a breathable cotton crotch and remove underwear before going to sleep.
  • Keep the genital area clean by washing with warm water during showers.
  • After using the restroom, always wipe from front to back, rather than from back to front.
  • Avoid wearing damp or wet swimsuits &/or under garments.
  • Keep sugar in your diet to a minimum.
  • Some believe that acidophilus or yogurt may help with prevention.


Will douching help to keep my vagina healthy and prevent abnormal discharge?
This is a common misperception. Though some women feel more clean after douching, this practice can actually remove too much of the “good bacteria” the vagina needs in order to stay healthy and fight off infection, so it’s best to avoid douching.


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Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett
601 Professional Drive, Suite 330
Lawrenceville, Georgia 30046   
Phone: 678.380.1980   
Fax: 678.380.7348

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